News: JBLM gets a leg up on sports medicine
Story by Staff Sgt. David Chapman
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.--Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Madigan Healthcare System have begun setting up a clinic that will streamline soldier care.
The Keeler Fitness Center will soon be offering the Soldier Peak-Performance and Advanced Reconditioning for the Tactical Athlete clinic for soldiers on JBLM. This will be a dedicated sports medicine clinic that can target all the needs of those who need to get themselves back to health.
“The SPARTA clinic will be a true primary care muscular skeletal medicine for Soldiers,” said Maj. Peter Muench, chief of sports medicine, Madigan Health Care System. “We will be similar to a professional sports training room. With this program Soldiers can be seen the day of injury and immediately start their rehabilitation with the goal of preventing chronic injuries and pain. We will be getting more soldiers ready to fight.”
Currently the fitness center is undergoing extensive remodeling in preparation for the clinic’s opening early next year. But a few soldiers are being seen on a case by case basis.
The clinic will offer a performance improvement lab and gait analysis clinic. Strength conditioning coaches and sports nutrition classes will also be available for people looking to optimize their diet for weight loss and better performance. All this will be open to healthy soldiers as well. The hope is to also offer medical massage for treatment of injuries and potentially acupuncture, said Muench.
Soldiers will be referred to the clinic via their battalion aid station, or for some, through their Soldier Centered Medical Home. Ultimately they will begin their healing process and early rehabilitation after an injury occurs.
“We will work closely with the Soldier Centered Medical Home as they get set up and with the brigades to best streamline the process of coming here to be seen, and so soldiers don’t get lost in the system,” said Muench. “This will help soldiers to get centralized care.”
This is a brand new concept to JBLM and has been a program a long time in planning. But programs like it have been successfully used at different installations across the Army.
“This is a program that has been started at Fort Carson and a similar program at TRADOC (U.S. Training and Doctrine Command),” said Col. Karen O’Brien, Madigan deputy commander of clinical services. “In the Army we are going to see more and more emphasis on this kind of injury prevention and early rehabilitation. I think this is part of a movement and we are going to be some of the first to get on board with it.”
Spc. Prince Burnes, forward observer, 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, was on his second visit to the clinic as a patient and found that the service and care received was what he had hoped for, specialized and specific.
“This clinic seems like they are going for spot on accuracy when they are trying to figure out what is wrong with you and treating the problem itself without all the guessing,” said Burnes, a Bogalusa, La., native. “I feel like within two weeks we have accomplished more than I had at the other clinics before.”
Despite budget issues in the Army, Madigan and the members of the SPARTA clinic believe that the health and welfare of the soldiers is their uppermost concern, and the clinic will end up saving the Army money.
“When you get in front of injuries and are taking care of soldiers, the Army benefits financially. It may seem like some upfront cost, but in the long run everyone wins,” said O’Brien. “We have elite athletes all over this post who have put their lives on the line for this country, why wouldn’t we give them the very best.”
While the SPARTA clinic is not fully completed and operational yet, the future of the clinic is definite and the plans are to offer even more than physical therapy options.